Information on the Sunset Advisory Commission
(AUSTIN) -- After the 79th session I was honored to be nominated by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to serve on the Sunset Advisory Commission with four of my colleagues from the Senate and five from the House.
The Sunset Advisory Commission was created in 1977 by the Texas Legislature to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies. The 12-member Commission consists of five members from both the House and Senate as well as two public members. As presiding officers, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick each nominate a public member to represent the Senate and the House, respectively. The Commission reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years. In doing so, it questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency's operations and activities. The Commission seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature.
In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.
During the 2008-2009 biennium, 27 state agencies ranging from the Department of Agriculture to Texas-Israel Exchange board will come up for review. The Commission welcomes public testimony and has set aside five dates to listen to concerned citizens. You many view the schedule here: http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/meetingsch2008.pdf or visit www.sunset.state.tx.us for more information.
On June 24th and 25th we heard testimony over five state agencies including the departments of insurance and public safety, as well as voted on recommendations set forth by the Commission for seven agencies we previously reviewed in April.
The Sunset process was established by the Texas Legislature in the 1970s to provide for greater openness in government decision-making and to improve government accountability. The values of openness, public participation and accountability continue to guide the Sunset review process today. For Sunset to reach its full potential, each Texan must be able to fully and equally participate in every phase of the Sunset review. This information is intended to ensure that each Texan enjoys full and equal access to all Sunset Activities, meetings, and documents.
If you would like to review sunset materials yourself, you may access them at: http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/81.htm. These reports are self-evaluations done by each agency and are submitted to the Sunset Commission for review, therefore the materials included are those of the agency rather than the Commission.
Our next opportunity for public testimony will be in a few short weeks and I invite you to come down July 15th as we review the Department of Transportation. As always, you can use the information below to contact my office with any questions or comments.
As we gear up for the 81st legislative session, it is important your voice gets heard. We appreciate your input so that we may best serve Texas and the citizens of Senate District Two.
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: firstname.lastname@example.org.